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Rankin should step down

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"Natural justice demands that Christine Rankin should step down from disciplinary proceedings against the WINZ manager she alleges misled her into approving expensive chartered flights to Wairakei for a staff training conference," Labour spokesperson on employment Steve Maharey said today.

"Labour agrees with the worker's lawyer, Peter Cullen, that his client is at risk of being scape-goated by Christine Rankin and that it is therefore inappropriate that she be involved in the hearings.

"Mrs Rankin's account of events is confusing and has been vigorously contested by the worker. She first said she had been misled about the cost of the flights. Then she said she had signed off $126,000 of the $165,000 bill.

"The approval of the $126,000 places her firmly in the frame. It follows that she should not be in a position to judge her subordinate's performance because she has a personal interest in ensuring that the subordinate bears responsibility for the mistake in judgement.

"To ensure fairness two things need to happen: The disciplinary proceeding should be put in the hands of a neutral third person and Mrs Rankin should be stood down until it is completed," Mr Maharey said.

"Labour has already called for her suspension during the one week inquiry being conducted by the Audit Office and the State Services Commission. I repeat this call today," Mr Maharey said.

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